Clare Lopez, Center for Security Policy, Saddam Hussein, Iraq
and the Existence of WMD’s
The Bob Frantz Authority, AM 1420 The Answer, May 22, 2015
Loose transcription by Beverly A. Goldstein, Ph.D. with additional facts inserted for clarification.
Types of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that exist (CBRNE):
Biological; Bio-warfare research centers
Saddam Hussein was a primary supporter of terrorism, and harbored terrorists within Iraq.
The primary reason for invading Iraq was not actually at-the-time existence of WMD’s.
It was Saddam’s destabilizing behavior in the region. He invaded Iran in the 1980’s, invaded Kuwait in 1990, attempted the assignation of US president GHW Bush and hosted, aided, abetted and supported an entire range of ME jihadi Islamic terrorists. He paid bonuses to families of suicide bombers in Israel. Many terrorists and their organizations received safe-haven inside Iraq, including Al-Qaeda.
After 9/11, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al- Zarqawi (AQ-Iraq) made his way out of Afghanistan, through Iran where he received medical assistance, and set up camp in northern Iraq carrying out campaigns of brutalizing Shi’a Muslims in Iraq [ISIS is a direct by-product of the legacy of Zarqawi]. None of this happened without Saddam’s sanction.
Collectively, all of these matters justified the US invasion of Iraq; the presence of WMD was just the “icing on the cake.” WMD’s were the least of our reasons for the invasion.
After the first Gulf War, during 1990’s, Iraq’s nuclear WMD’s were dismantled, and as of 2003 the nuclear WMD program had not been reconstituted. Listeners must remember that Saddam, however, maintained the pieces, parts, blueprints, scientists, know-how and infrastructure to re-constitute their nuclear WMD program at any time.
Saddam did have other lethal WMD programs. He continued to have an active, extensive, sophisticated and advanced lethal biological [as well as to some extent a chemical] program process at the time of our invasion during 2003. THIS INTEL WAS NOT MANUFACTURED. These deadly weapons’ programs were in bold violation of signed UN biological weapons conventions, of which Iraq was a signatory.
But unlike the age of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. stock-piling atomic bombs, where quantity stockpiling was essential to the demonstration of strength, it was not necessary for Iraq to build up and store large stockpiles of these lethal weapons; they could easily be constructed and mobilized on short notice.
It was universally known that Saddam had experimented with and tested lethal strains of biological and chemical weapons by inflicting them on Iranian prisoners in Iraq. The US did not test these prisoners for antibodies when we entered the country, which was a large failure on our part to secure knowledge which we required.
If you want to know if a country like Iraq has an active biological/chemical weapons program, the first place that you check is the prisons. N Korea and Syria’s Bashar Assad also test lethal weapons on their prisoners, as likely does Iran.
Iraq’s chemical weapons were taken out of the country, removed before we invaded (discussed further below).
The media and the public, however, believe that we invaded Iraq because of the existence of extensive WMD programs. This became the public’s issue. Bob stated that when GWB became president, a host of Democrats including Former Pres. WJC, HRC, JK, Rockefeller, Albright et al., pressed Bush hard to become aware of Saddam’s cadre.
How could Bush not want to take the steps that he took, which was to invade Iraq? If Saddam was readily willing to use biological and chemical weapons against his own people, GWB had no reason to believe that Saddam would not use them against us, or slide them off to other enemies of ours in the ME.
Weapons in the hands of sub-national terrorist groups [e.g. ISIS] are not likely to inflict the same level of harm as can be accomplished by nation-state terrorist countries. The infrastructure redundancy and power of nation-state regimes (currently including the Assad regime in Damascus) as terrorist states are far more dangerous than are individual terrorist groups.
During this same period of time, 2001, we were dealing with the anthrax terror threat crisis in and around DC. These multiple attacks have never really been solved. No one has ever been held to account. They were attacks by other countries/nation states, probably from either Iran, Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah, or AQ.
The international information and Intel on Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs was accurate, strong and solid.
The narrative today is that this Intel was all manufactured and manipulated by Pres. Bush, VP Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, etc. They all created this ruse to enrich themselves, their companies and all of it was actually a big lie.
There had been extensive investigations conducted by UNSCOM, United Nations Special Commission, charged with inspecting Iraq’s suspected chemical and biological weapons capabilities after the first gulf war, early 1990’s. But regardless, the WMD work continued onward with the following:
1. Bacterial strains
3. Toxins – Anthrax
4. Botulinum toxin (BTX)
[Indepth discussion on this topic: http://www.iraqwatch.org/profiles/biological.html]
Weaponized, these substances can cause quite a bit of damage. Iraq had a
- Massive bio-warfare research center at Al-Salman’s Technical Research Center, just south of Baghdad
- Biological weapons production facility at Al Hakum [was at one time Iraq’s most sophisticated and largest biological weapons (BW) production factory]
- Other research centers such as the bio-warfare research site at Al Manal (the “Foot and Mouth Disease Center”).
Clare stated that she has no idea why GWB himself is not defending his record by describing the knowledge/intel that their administration had at that time, why he has entirely collapsed on these issues. No one really knows the reason. To some extent Cheney remains in this fight.
They had verified evidence. For months and weeks leading up to the coalition’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, convoys of trucks loaded up in Baghdad and drove WMD material through the Euphrates River Valley into Syria. The Russians were also involved in weapons removal; they sent in planes and flew material out of Iraq; materials had their fingerprints too and they didn’t want to be identified. This is now all open source information, but was less so then.
The Bush administration also collapsed over the Iranian nuclear weapons program essentially the same way, and refused to pursue it.
When our troops went into Iraq in 2003, they captured many warehouses where Saddam Hussein, for whatever reason, stored recordings of all of his nefarious activities, both audio and video tapes of his confidential and secret meetings.
There was so much material, thousands and thousands of hours, so GWB turned to John Negroponte, his Director of National Intelligence, who agreed to “crowd source” it on the internet for help with translation. Clare and her team, she was formerly with the Iran Policy Committee, grabbed a couple hundred hours of this tape-recorded material, translated and examined it, and presented their findings at the Intelligence Summit Conference in 2006 in Crystal City. The segments they exposed contained Saddam discussions with his closest inner circle – “kitchen cabinet” [all voices authenticated] on how he was going to dispose of and/or remove WMD materials from Iraq. This open presentation of such confidential information greatly embarrassed the administration and Negroponte, and he was relieved of his position heading DNI. The remaining Saddam tapes were removed from the internet.
So Clare, and her team, in 2006 obtained first-hand knowledge of the actual existence of WMD in Iraq, through internet direct access to Saddam’s tapes discussing and describing how and by whom the regime’s WMD’s were going to be removed from Iraq.
So if those weapons were truly shipped to Syria and ISIS is now largely in control of 60% of Syria, what is the threat from those weapons today, 12 years later?
On May 21, 2015, ISIS took Palmyra, Syria uncontested, today a UNESCO “World Heritage Centre.” Although it is an historic ruins from Roman times, Bashar Assad also built there a Syrian military research site for the production of chemical weapons. We don’t know what has happened there now, but it’s not the only production facility. Assad has quite complex and sophisticated programs of both biological and chemical weapons, and he has used them.
The Assad biological and chemical weapons programs still remain in place today.
The Syrians had been in the process of advancing an incipient secret nuclear program which suffered a great set-back on September 6, 2007 when Israeli jets detonated a mysterious complex (a nuclear research facility under construction at the time – funded by Iran, and possibly N Korea) in the Syrian desert [code name: Operation Orchard]. Some of the nuclear weapons materials to build this destroyed Syrian reactor may have come to Syria from Iraq’s dormant nuclear program.
So who poses the greater threat to Israel and to the U.S., the Assad regime or ISIS rebels/members, in terms of the use of WMD’s?
The use of chemical and biological weapons is a far greater threat in the hands of a sophisticated nation-state such as Syria run by Assad with its infrastructure, established facilities, delivery systems and programs, than when controlled by a sub-national group.
What we have seen so far is that ISIS has used industrial chemical weapons like chlorine, but true fourth generation chemical and biological agents require a nation-state infrastructure.
Hello!!! Assad and the mullahs are TERRORISTS, they just also happen to run countries.
If you were a presidential candidate for 2016, and a reporter said to you now, “knowing what we know now, would you have gone into Iraq in 2003?” what would be your answer?
Absolutely YES. With no hesitation.
And not specifically because of actual existence of WMD’s at that time, but rather because of what I have been discussing including regional aggression, sponsorship of terrorism, the CAPABILITY to develop additional and more sophisticated WMD’s if not thwarted, and Iraq’s violation of umpteen UN National Security Council resolutions on WMD’s.
Saddam Hussein and his regime needed to be deposed, but we committed a grave error when we totally upset the balance of power in that ME region. We took out the Sunni Baathist counter to the Shiite mullah Iranian hegemony. We left the mullahs in power without going after them in a one-two punch; we destroyed the balance of power in the region.
The rise of IS, ISIS today, as horrible as it is, is in some measure an historical natural correction to the broken balance of power that the United States imposed on the region when we took out Saddam and left the mullahs standing.
Had we been successful in concluding a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq, and left our troops in place, could we have dominated the area and corrected for this circumstance?
Even as our troops/commanders were still in Iraq, they knew that Iran was moving into Iraq and taking over, we understood this. Iran was channeling IED’s and projectiles into Iraq which were maiming and slaughtering our troops, and our commanders WERE FORBIDDEN to say a word. IRGC Quds Force and Intelligence Service Iranian troops were infiltrating our key positions and also the positions of the Iraqi military, intelligence and police, and we never said a word. This was occurring under GWB, and Iran’s takeover was quite a done deal.
WE HANDED IRAQ TO IRAN ON A SILVER PLATTER – WE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN.
The only reason that there would have been value in the United States staying in the region, would have been if we then moved forward to countering and taking out the Iranian regime also.
(( Below is the audio from the Bob Frantz interview with Clare Lopez, May 22, 2015. ))